Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday said some people in the country get irritated when they hear the words “Om” or “gau” (cow). He was in Mathura in Uttar Pradesh to launch the National Animal Disease Control Programme for eradicating foot and mouth disease and brucellosis in livestock, News18 reported.

“Some people get irritated when they hear the word Om, some get irritated when they hear the word gau,” Modi said. “These people imagine that we are back in the 16th century. These people don’t understand what cattle rearing means and how greatly it contributes to the economy of the country and its farmers.”

The programme, which cost Rs 12,652 crore, aims at vaccinating over 50 crore livestock, including cattle, buffalo, sheep, goats and pigs, against the foot and mouth disease. It also aims to vaccinate 3.6 crore female calves against brucellosis.The programme will be fully funded by the central government until 2024, PTI reported. The programme also aims to control the spread of the diseases by 2025 and eradicate them by 2030.

The prime minister also defended the Adityanath government’s track record against encephalitis. At least 70 children had died of encephalitis in Gorakhpur’s Baba Raghav Das Medical College and Hospital in 2017.

“Adityanath fought all his life against encephalitis and brought it to the attention of Parliament and country,” Modi said, according to ANI. “However, few vested interest groups blamed his government for deaths of children due to it. But Yogiji’s spirit was not deterred and he continued his work.”

The prime minister also inaugurated the Swachata hi Seva and National Artificial Insemination Programme for livestock in Mathura. He also launched 16 projects related to livestock, tourism and road construction, ANI reported.

Modi met plastic waste collectors, farmers and veterinarians in Mathura, the Hindustan Times reported. He told them about the importance of segregating plastic from other waste products. Modi also inspected a waste recycling machine in the city.

“We need to make efforts to rid our homes, offices, and workplaces of single-use plastic by October 2, 2019 [which marks 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi],” Modi said in his speech. “I appeal to self help groups, civil society, individuals and others to join this mission.” October 2 this year is the . Modi had made similar appeals during his Independence Day speech and his “Mann ki Baat” programme in August.

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